The present work aimed to evaluate the seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and their associated risk factors among the pregnant women. This study was carried out from 2009 to 2010 in 232 pregnant women attending the private hospitals in and around Salem, Tamil Nadu. Anti-toxoplasma specific IgG and IgM were assessed using Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test kits. Of these 232 samples, anti-toxoplasma specificimmunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies were detected in 23 (9.9%) cases while 9 (3.9%) had positive anti-toxoplasma specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) suggestive of acute infection during or just before pregnancy. A structured questionnaire interview for pregnant women was performed to investigate the risk factors associated with the T. gondii infection. The higher infection rate of 7.9% (for anti-toxoplasma IgG antibodies) was found with pregnant women living in rural area (15 subjects) than in urban area (8 subjects) and it was statistically significant (P<0.03). A few risk factors such as stillbirth (P<0.02), miscarriage (P<0.009), rearing cat as pet animal (P<0.005) and outdoor gardening (P<0.03) were statistically associated with the seroprevalence rate. Even with low seroprevalence rate of 9.9% latent infection and 3.9% acute infection there is a need for the pregnant women to be educated on the ways to minimize the exposure to T. gondii infection and to reduce the risk of congenital transmission.
Key words: Toxoplasma gondii, seroprevalence, pregnancy, anti-toxoplasmaimmunoglobulin G (IgG), immunoglobulin M (IgM).
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